The International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, CO

The International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, CO

They start with a 40,000 (18,140 kg) pound block of snow. In a few days, they turn that weighty block into an artistic masterpiece. It’s not all fun and games though. This is a competition, and bragging rights are on the line.  Family Well Traveled was fortunate to attend the 29th Annual International Snow Sculpture Championship in Breckenridge, Colorado. We saw 16 of the world’s best snow sculptors going head to head, creating masterpieces that “oohed” and “aahed” the spectators.

The 16 competitors represented 12 countries including three U.S. representatives, two Chinese teams, two German teams, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Mongolia, and Turkey.

The sculptors have four days to complete their works. The works are on display for five days.

We attended the free viewing event during the daytime. However, the displays are illuminated at night. We’d like to make a return trip to see the sculptures lit up at night.

The competitors use home-made tools and internal supports are prohibited. That’s right. These masterpieces are self-supported structures, which is pretty amazing.

Here’s a look at most of the snow sculptures at the 29th International Snow Sculpture Championship. The popular competition takes places each January in the mountain ski town and draws large crowds.

Find out more about the International Snow Sculpture Championship.

The Gold Medal Winner

Mexico took first place in this year’s competition with “Cenote Garden.” The inspiration comes from the Yucatan legend of the cenote keeper, an underwater creature that is part eel, part fish, and part feathered serpent. Thousands of human remains have been found in one Mexican cenote, sacrifices to the underwater keeper.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Cenote Garden
The Gold Medal Winning sculpture by the Mexican Team
International Snow Sculpture Championship Cenote Kepper
Another view of 1st place sculpture Cenote Garden

The Second Place German Design

Team Germany scored the silver medal with the structurally awe-inspiring “Walls with Holes.” Remember, the sculptures are self supporting and internal supports are prohibited. So, who knows how Team Germany kept this one upright?

International Snow Sculpture Championship Walls with Holes
Team Germany’s Walls With Holes defies the law of gravity

The Bronze Medal British Design

This one was a crowd favorite. Team Britain’s “Hippo Ballet Dancers” drew a lot of attention from photographers and spectators alike.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Hippo Ballet Dancers
Hippo Ballet Dancers earned the British Team a Bronze Medal at the competition.

The People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice gave the Breckenridge USA Team crowd-favorite honors with “Let It Snow.” The sculpture depicts Ullr, the Norwegian god of snow, who graces the town of Breckenridge with snow for skiing, sledding, and other outdoor fun.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Let It Snow
Team Breckenridge took the People’s Choice honors for Let it Snow.

The Artists’ Choice Award

Team Ecuador wowed its fellow artists, taking top honors in this special award, for “Organic Geometry.” Once again, you simply wonder how they constructed such a piece.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Organic Chemistry
The Artists’ Choice winner from Team Ecuador.

The Other Snow Sculpture Entries

Although these other competitors did not win prizes, their sculptures were still amazing and entertaining. Here were the other entries in the 2019 International Snow Sculpture Championships.

Team China – Eagle Woman

International Snow Sculpture Championship Eagle Woman
China’s Eagle Woman

Team China – Super Hero

The story behind this one is the world has become more peaceful. Spider Man didn’t have to save lives and grew increasingly fatter. However, new troublemakers have arisen, and Spider Man builds a sporting spiderweb to defend the planet.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Super Hero
Spider Man prepares to defend the world in “Super Hero.”

Team France – Mission

Space exploration was a recurring theme at this year’s show. Team France showed the fraternity of humanity and the daring adventures of space exploration.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Mission
Space exploration and unity represented in Team France’s “Mission.”

Team Germany – Folded II

Amazing balance preserved in this minimalist sculpture.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Folded II
Team Germany’s minimalist snow sculpture. “Folded II.”

Team India – Unity in Diversity

Four world religions originated in India. The sculpting team represents those religions and some of their tenets in “Unity in Diversity.”

International Snow Sculpture Championship Unity in Diversity
Team India – Unity in Diversity

Team Italy – Snow Orchid

Italy sculpted the delicate orchid in snow form.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Snow Orchid
Italy’s entry is a delicate snow orchid.

Team Japan – The Earth Tree

The earth is represented as an intricate tree in Team Japan’s entry. The notes from Japan claim: “We pray that a pure song echoes forever so that our existence will not shorten the life of the earth.”

International Snow Sculpture Championship Earth Tree
Team Japan likens the earth to an intricate tree with roots and branches.

Team Mongolia – Discovery

Another space-themed entry from Mongolia. It’s a look toward the future of science and innovation in space.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Discovery
A piece of Team Mongolia’s “Discovery.”

Team Turkey – Pawn’s Dream

Simply stated pawn’s dream is to become a king someday.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Pawn's Dream
When pawn looks in the mirror, he sees a king.

Team USA Colorado – La Fleur De Vie

The notes for Team Colorado’s sculpture stated: “By examining the positive and negative space in our lives we can have a greater understanding of the world we live.”

International Snow Sculpture Championship La Fleur de Vie
Team Colorado’s mosaic work

Team USA Wisconsin – The Hidden Dance

An aquatic dance of survival with octopus and jellyfish.

International Snow Sculpture Championship Hidden Dance
An underwater dance of survival.


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International Snow Sculpture Championships Breckenridge Colorado

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